Saturday, February 25, 2012

Quilting makes the quilt

Well that’s what Lee Cleland said. This quilt just off the frame seems to fit the theory. The feature fabric is a Japanese scene fabric. People, buildings,mountains, trees.
I am very pleased with how my Seed Pods look in on the plain fabric. I feel they created the look  of a pathway through the village.

For some time now

I’ve been following some very nice blogs. I thought it was time I got generous and shared some with you:
Tanya is an Japanese American living her life in Japan. Her blog Taniwa is a very interesting read. Not only does she quilt but she talks every day life in Japan.
Quilting in my pyjamas is written by Shay of Australia. Shay hosts a Favourite Things Friday link up. She has a typically Australian sense of humour. Never fails to make me laugh.
A new blog I have just started reading By the Babbling Brook. Written by Kate. I think Kate and I are soul mates, we like the same sort of food and yesterday we both made focaccia using nearly identical recipes. Spooky Possums!
Cottage Tails written by Leanne. Life on a self sufficiency block, home schooling, farm animals,pets, quilting and so much more. Leanne writes in a way that makes you feel part of the family – you just cant wait for the next post
Catalina’s Cottage. Cat writes about her life with the adorable MrB and her children Tsunami and Philosopher. Cat inspired lots of quilters to make quilts for Christchurch. Pop over for a look, very cute blog.
Oh, and I better mention my lovely sister Peggy or there may be no cup of tea for me in bed tomorrow. The life and times of a crazy quilter and more……
Last but not least my DH Glynn has recently started a blog of his Memoirs of a Staffordshire Lad.
There that should keep you quiet for a while.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bound to please II

As  I was binding my Rugby World Cup Challenge (in extra time) I decided I would like to share a super tip to make sewing your binding down much easier.
Here’s my secret weapon:
Charlottes Fusible Web:
 Now here’s what I do.
Sew binding on in the usual way.Now fill bobbin with fusible thread. Zig Zag stitch in the seam allowance on the top side of the quilt. I use width 3, length 2. Make sure you get real close to the corners.
This is what it will look like on the back:
Now turn your quilt over and finger press the binding away from the quilt top. Don’t use your iron for this bit or you will be fusing your quilt onto the ironing board! I use my Clover finger iron for this.
Now turn your quilt over and start folding your binding to the back and press.Coming right up to a corner:
press right up close to the corner, fold that corner and press again:
Look perfect corner – no pins!!
Keep on folding over and pressing. I love the sharp look:
See how good it looks quilt side:
The best part is how easy it is to sew your binding down. No pins!! I find I can hand sew my binding down lickety split using this method. Try it, you will love it.
I find this thread a tad hard to come by in New Zealand. The only place I can find it is:Quiltworks
I buy mine direct from Superior Threads. No Affils,  just love their products.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Foundation Piecing II


Since I wrote yesterday several people have commented to me about foundation piecing.It seems you either love it or hate it! I have some loves and some hates which I thought I would share with you:


I hate the mess – I always think I will be tidy but it never seems to happen

I hate that I have to cut fabric way bigger

I HATE taking the paper off


I love that I can piece small pieces very accurately

I love that I can achieve angles and shapes I probably couldn’t do any other way.

Top tips

Use a medium interfacing to piece on. It takes way longer to trace off patterns but the time it saves at the other end makes it worth while.

Use a finger iron at your machine instead of going to the ironing board.

Unless you plan to hand quilt the interfacing is the way to go.

Never tried foundation piecing? Here are some super sites you can visit to get information:

Very nice pattern for a vintage sunburst block

and put Foundation piecing into their search machine, I did and got over 300 results.

This one is an old favourite

she has lots of other sites listed on her site.

Now if you make one of these your quilting friends will be way impressed:

……..and more

Go on give it a go, you know you want to.


Monday, February 20, 2012

Foundation piecing……

is so good for sewing small blocks


I’ve been busy sewing this today as a sample for a class I am teaching. At the class I will be teaching foundation piecing in the morning and in the afternoon everyone will make one of my Chatelaines using foundation pieced blocks.

The wee butterfly secures the ribbon that my scissors are attached to.


My favourite part is this wee pocket that holds my thimble.


The pockets are deep enough to hold thread, wax, chalk or any other goodies I may need.

I have put cotton batting in this chatelaine. Above the pocket on one side I put pins and the other side needles.

I love my Chatelaine – I am so used to it I find it difficult to hand sew without.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

The heavens opened………

Yesterday evening we had a tremendous thunder storm and torrential rain. Every time this happens I feel a tad concerned. Our house is very flat to the ground. The previous owners set up a complex system of drains and sink holes. So far so good but I always feel I must go and check.

This is how our front cobbled area looked. Just a bubbling swirling mass of water. It stopped just at the flower pots you can see in the foreground.


Our pebble garden took on a new look as a pond!



Then just as suddenly as it all started it stopped.

Some of our flowers look a tad battered today but the garden does seem refreshed. The air is cool.


Bye for now

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Muesli anyone?

I have just finished making a batch of Muesli or is that Granola for American friends?


I have been making this recipe for about 20 years. I never get tired of it – I could eat it for breakfast lunch and tea!

I know, I know you want the recipe don’t you?

Mix together in a large shallow microwavable dish

3 cups Rolled Oats

½   cup Shredded Coconut

½   cup Chopped or slivered nuts – I like Almonds

 ½  cup Sunflower seeds

 ½  cup Pumpkin seeds

½   teaspoon salt

In a microwavable dish or jug mix

¼  cup oil (I use olive)

½ cup honey

¼ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Pop this in the microwave and cook for 1 minute on high, stir and cook for another 30 seconds. Be careful this get really hot and bubbles up – best done in a jug.

Pour the oil,honey and brown sugar etc. mix over the dry ingredients and mix well.

Pop in Microwave and cook for 3 minutes on high.

Remove stir and pop back in for 3 more I minute blasts. Stir after each minute.

When it is cooked (it will smell cooked and yummy when it is ready) add

½  cup chopped apricots or any other dried fruit you fancy. In this batch we have Apricots and Golden Raisins.

As the muesli is cooling give it a stir now and then otherwise it will all stick together.

Tip: Don’t let anyone else do this part as there will be a few lumpy crunchy bits that need to be eaten right away – that’s a cooks perk!

When cool store in an air tight container.

Peggy likes to eat this crunchy on top of her yoghurt and fruit. I have mine with milk. The longer you leave it to soak the creamier it will be. If dairy product is a problem this is just as nice with fruit juice or water.

One day when I was making this a friend called. She asked me what I was doing as she could hear the tell tale sound of the microwave beeps. “Oh just making Muesli” I said.

She said said “WHAT!!! They sell that at the shops don’t they?”

Well yes they do but it only takes 10 minutes tops to make a batch, and I don’t know about you but I always think the shop stuff tastes stale.

Try it, bet you will love it!

Thanks for popping by.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sweet Peas

The ladies gathered at our house today.  First time we have all been together this year.

Trish bought some super I Spy fabrics to add to our stash:


Trish is making a stunning quilt, this is just a quarter of it!


We learnt how to make a pineapple blossom block.




The pattern for this block is on Bonnie Hunter’s site Quiltville. Bonnie is the Supreme Queen of scrap quilts.

Lots of yum food and chatter.


…………….and then there was quality control:



Monday, February 13, 2012

Summer Savoury

This is a dish we look forward to every summer.


New potatoes,beans, bacon, fresh herbs. YUMMY

You want the recipe don’t you? OK here goes.

Bacon and Vegetable Summer Savoury

by Alison Holst. Alison tells the story of how she visited friends in California who cooked this dish. Her friends’ children regarded this as a “Comfort Food” with a capital C!

Per Person:

2-3 rashers bacon

1 small onion

1-2 teaspoons butter

2-3 medium sized potatoes

100 – 150 grms green beans

about 2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon chicken stock or 1/4 tsp salt

Oreganum,cumin or savoury to taste

about 1 teaspoon cornflower.

Remove the rinds from the bacon. Chop the bacon and cook it and the rinds in a pan (with a  cover that you will need later) until crisp, then remove most of the bacon for garnishing later.

Add to the remaining bacon, rinds and drippings the chopped onion and butter. Cook until the onion is translucent and lightly browned.

Add the scrubbed, whole,halved or quartered potatoes, the beans cut in 5cm sections,the water and flavourings, cover and and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 mins. Add a little extra water during this time if necessary. Aim to finish with about 2 tablespoons of liquid. Thicken juices with just enough cornflower to coat and glaze the vegetables. Remove the Bacon rinds, adjust seasonings to taste and serve in large shallow bowls sprinkled with the crispy bacon.

My little tweaks to this recipe are:

Put the beans in about 10 mins after the potatoes. I don’t like my beans cooked to death. I use fresh herbs from the garden,including Rosemary.

Do try this, it’s very nice.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Quilts for Christchurch

Yes another one completed. This is going to a friend of Peggy’s who had a nasty time in then Earthquake.

She’s a pansy lover so Peggy thought this would be nice and bright and cherry for her.




I got to do the quilting. Loved working with these colours. The thread is a Superior Threads Poly quilter Rainbow Sherbet  one which I just happened to add to my last thread order on sheer impulse. I think it’s very pretty – so much so that I thought it called for a banner change.I think this thread will be appearing again in the future.

Thanks for popping by


Friday, February 10, 2012

It’s been an epic Journey…..

…but at long last it’s homeward bound.


I think the Bear’s paw block is my favourite but I think the corner baskets are pretty darn cute too.

It has been vey satisfying to reach completion on this quilt. It sure looks a whole lot different now.

Thanks for popping by

A clever disguise


Yesterday our neighbour had the long grass on no mans land at the bottom of her section cut. Later in the day Peggy saw Cici emerge from that area with a mouse in her mouth. The first time we have sighted her with a catch.

Today I looked out and saw her lying in wait again. Her mottled tortoiseshell coat proving the perfect disguise.



Thursday, February 09, 2012

Bound to please………..

It’s only a little thing but it helps.
When I am folding and pressing my bindings I put a safety pin into my ironing board and thread the end of my binding through it. This works like a “third hand” and helps to control the binding as I press.

………every little bit helps.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Remember this garden?


After a lovely show of pansies we decided it was time for a change.

This garden is difficult to manage, it faces the south and gets very little sun, even in summer.

So out with the pansies and in with:


The natives!The area is weed matted and mulched with river stones.(Special thanks to brother Alan.)

Hopefully the plants will grow, come together and look rather special.

Thanks for popping by


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